Welcome to the definitive Meribel skiing guide. Here you will find everything you need to orientate yourself in Meribel resort and find the best runs for you. The Meribel Valley sits at the very heart of the 3 Valleys ski area both literally and figuratively making it the ideal base to explore everything that the 3V has to offer.
Meribel offers skiing for all levels from beginners to advanced off piste. It offers plenty of high altitude above-the-tree-line skiing as well as some lovely winding tree lined runs further down the valley.
Located centrally in the world-famous Three Valleys ski area, Meribel gives the best possible access to some of the very best skiing to be found anywhere on the planet.
Yup. Bold claim. But you don't have to take our word for it. Ask any serious skier and Meribel will be right at the top of their bucket list. Snowheads travel from all over the world to experience the incredible piste and off-piste skiing on offer here.
And it's not just for people who do backflips off the first lift.
Meribel offers something for everyone, no matter what your background, your budget or your experience level.
The Meribel Valley is a closed valley that runs roughly north to south in the French Alpes. It is closed to the south with the huge Mont Vallon and Mont du Borgne dominating the end of the Valley. It is open at the north end with access via the village of Les Allues.
The next valley over to the west is the Belleville valley which has the resorts of St Martin, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. To the east you will find the Courchevel valley which has the resorts of Courchevel and La Tania. All of these are included in the full 3 valleys lift pass and can be skied to directly from the Meribel.
There are four major ski "regions" in the Meribel Valley:
These areas could be divided down further but for the purposes of this guide its best to stick with these four. Tougnete, Saulire and Altiport are all accessible directly from what is known as the Chaudanne in Meribel Centre. Mottaret, which is further up the valley, is accessible via skiing or via the free buses that run through the valley.
You can see the major ski areas and also the top stations of all the major lifts. Please note this only shows the "Local Area" ski areas which are covered by the local area ski pass.
We really like to use Fatmap to check out a resort before we go there. Its great for planning your day and checking out pistes and routes. Perhaps you may find it useful too. Click here for Meribel on Fatmap.
The first and most important thing to know about Meribel is that everything starts and ends in Chaudanne. The Chaudanne generally refers to the concentration of lifts that converge around the Olympic Building. Lifts to all the main areas of Meribel and the 3 Valleys start here.
Chaudanne is where most of the Meribel Centre ski schools meet in the morning. Most people passing from one side of the 3 Valleys to the other will pass through Chaudanne so it can be a busy area. All the buses stop here and so there is generally a lot going on in this area.
The Altiport area of Meribel is a beginners and improvers paradise. It's the best place to start your skiing journey. Crammed with wonderful cruisey greens, blues and reds. It is the place to perfect what you learned in this morning's ski lessons in this afternoon's free time. It is our favourite place to take people who are still finding their feet. There is an excellent kids area on and around the Piste Des Inuits. Even though we describe it as a beginners area it is also a great area for experienced skiers with some interesting red runs. There is some good off piste to be found off the top of the Dent De Burgin lift.
From Meribel Centre take the Adret chairlift or from Chaudanne take the Rhodos gondola. Both of these lifts will put you right into the Altiport area. The Saulire Gondola mid station is also great for accessing the altiport region.
It is also possible to access this area via Line B and Line C of the free "Meribus" ski busses in Meribel Centre. Get off at stop 34 (the final stop on Line C) for Altiport.
There are some great dining options in the Altiport region. We love Le Clos Bernard, tucked into the trees north of the actual Altiport. They do a great selection of traditional Savoyard dishes. Another great stop is Restuarant Le Blanchot A great place to end your Altiport day is in the lively Lodge Du Village in the heart of Meribel Village.
The top of Col De La Loze (2305 meters) above Altiport is finish line for stage 17 of the 2020 Tour De France. Now that is some serious pedalling!
The Tougnete (pronounced "toon-ette") area is the next step after Altiport. That is to say it's a great next step up for beginners and improvers. Not too advanced but still with plenty of adventure to be had. You will find a great mix of levels here for good all round family skiing. This area is the best way to access the St. Martin and Les Menuires ski areas in the next valley over (covered by the full 3 Valleys pass). This is also the start of the Val Thorens loop if you do not wish to take your skis off.
For those looking for something a little different there is the "Back To The Wild" area found at the top of the Roc de Tougne chairlift. This is a dedicated free ski area which is purposely not groomed. Its a great safe place to practice your off piste before heading into the real backcountry.
Another great feature in this area is the "Whoops" boarder-cross area and "Elements" park. Its a great beginners boarder-cross area and so it is perfect for those looking to dip their toe in or for kids who want to try it out.
There two pistes at the bottom of the Meribel ski map named Raffort and Daguet / Villages that lead the villages of Le Raffort and Les Allues respectively. They are quite nice pistes with some lovely skiing. Unfortunately they are not always open due to lack of snow and or grooming. If you wish to take these two runs be sure to check their status before committing as you may be in for a bit of a walk if you run out of snow.
From Altiport, Saulire or Meribel Centre head straight to Chaudanne then take the Tougnete 1 gondola or the Legends chairlift. Both of these lifts will put you right into the heart of the Tougnete area. If you are in the Mottaret area then head towards the Combes 1 and Combes 2 Chairlift which will also leave you close to the centre of the Tougnete area.
To get to Tougnete by bus take any of the free ski buses that stop at Chaudanne which, at the time of writing is all of them, easy!
One of the best coffees in the 3 Valleys can be found in the Tougnete area. To try it head for to L'Arpasson located at the mid station of Tougnete 1 -2 gondola. There is an epic viewing platform at the top of Olympic Chairlift at the summit of Roc De Fer. There are picnic benches at the top so its an awesome spot to stop for a packed lunch with full 360° panoramic views. For eating in a restaurant the options in the Tougnete area are thin on the ground. It may be better to ski down to the village and head for Les Castors which is pretty epic and a bit of a hidden gem.
Mission Black Forest is the main dedicated sledging run in Meribel. Accessed via a lift (no walking up to sled here!) its a big long purpose build sledging area. For more details see our Meribel sledging page.
Mottaret (pronounced "mott-are-eh") is the area where intermediate and advanced skiers go to play. It features an excellent selection of red runs to suit all styles and tastes along with a few choice blue runs to warm up on. Mottaret is located deep into the Meribel Valley and has skiable slopes on three sides It straddles the Tueda National Park (though skiing is not allowed in this area).
For the adventurous you will find some excellent off piste off the right hand side of Campagnol piste. Take a look at this video of Mont Vallon Off piste skiing to get an idea of what there
If you are heading for Val Thorens for the day (full 3 Valleys pass only) then we suggest you take the Cote Brun Chairlift to get there and the ski back on the wonderful Lac De Chambre piste coming home.
Snowpark 43 is the name of the large snow park on the eastern side of the valley next to the Chatelet chairlift.
It is possible to ski directly to the Mottaret area from Altiport, Sauliere and Tougnette.
To get to Mottaret via bus you take Line D of the free "Meribus" ski busses in Meribel Centre or Chaudanne. Get off at stop 16 for the centre of Mottaret.
We absolutely love the Plain Des Mains restaurant at the bottom of the Mont Vallon Gondola. Its the perfect spot for lunch after completing the longest run in the Meribel valley - Combe Du Vallon.
There are stunning views from the top of Mont Vallon which is the highest lift in Meribel. There is an stunning views from the almost 360° view at the top which includes Mont Blanc to the north which is over 50km away as the crow flies.
Saulire is great for all levels. It has an excellent mix of runs with difficulty levels for everybody. The Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola is where most people start first thing in the morning. The area below the Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola is great for beginners as the majority of it is blues and greens.
The Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola is also used by pedestrians heading from Meribel to Courchevel for the day as it is by far the fastest and most efficient way to get there. The top of Saulire is where you will find the parapenting in Meribel. The high altitude and steep sides giving them an excellent launching point.
Top Tip: The Adret chairlift is a nice quiet chair. It takes you quite high and there never tends to be a que which makes it a great bet during the busy periods.
From Tougnete or Meribel Centre head straight to Chaudanne then take the Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola. This will put you right into the top of the Saulire area. From Altiport take the Dent Du Bergin chair or the Adret chair and ski down to the Saulire Express mid station. If you are in the Mottaret area then head towards the Pas Du Lac 1 and 2 Gondola and get off at the top. Here you can take the Biche run which will bring you to the centre of the Saulire area.
To get to Saulire by bus take any of the free ski buses that stop at Chaudanne which, at the time of writing is all of them, easy!
Saulire is the best area in Meribel for Apres Ski. It has the The Folie Douce and the Rond Point (know locally as "The Ronnie"). You may be tempted to head to the top of the Saulire Express 2 gondola for lunch at Panoramique the amazing view but we would recommend you avoid the food. Not great. Instead you could head for Les Pierre Plates along the ridge a bit. They also have a great view but have much better food.
The village of Meribel altitude is 1450 meters. This makes it a relatively high altitude resort. A lot of the skiing in Meribel is above the tree line which typically makes for great snow conditions. You will find the height of the mountains surrounding Meribel in the table below.
|Meribel Village||1450 meters||Base Altitude|
|Dent De Bergin||2739 meters|
|Mont Vallon||2952 meters||Highest lift point in Meribel|
|Mont De Borgne||3153 meters|
|Col De La Chambre||2850 meters|
|3 Marches||2704 meters|
|Mont De Challe||2573 meters|
|Roc De Fer||2294 meters|
There will be full-week skiing from Saturday 4th December 2021 snow permitting. There may still be some lifts and pistes that are not open.
The lifts officially open full time for the season on Saturday 18th December 2021 in Meribel. It may be brought forward to Saturday 4th December 2021 if there is sufficient snowfall.
Ski lifts in Meribel close on Saturday 15th April 2022. Some lifts may close earlier depending on snow conditions.
As always all the above is snow-dependent and could change.
Ski lifts in Meribel open at 09:00 each day through out the season.
Ski lifts in Meribel close anywhere between 16:00 to 17:30 depending on the lift and the time of year.
Last Updated: 20th April 2021